United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. SHERIDAN, U.S.D.J.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Jason D. Mays'
("Mays") motion to stay this litigation while his
criminal charges, emanating from the same underlying incident
as the present action, are pending on appeal before the New
Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division. (ECF No.
For the reasons stated herein, Mays' motion is denied.
26, 2018, Mays was sentenced in New Jersey state court to
sixteen years' imprisonment for official misconduct, a
pattern of official misconduct, sexual assault, and criminal
sexual assault after a jury trial. (Mays' Moving Br. at
2, ECF No. 50-1). The criminal charges arose "out of the
same alleged incident as [this] civil matter."
(Id.). On September 24, 2018, Mays appealed his
conviction and sentence to the New Jersey Superior Court,
Appellate Division, on the grounds that the trial court
imposed an "excessive sentence and the verdict [was]
not... a result of a fair trial." (See id.).
Mays' appeal is currently pending.
background, Plaintiff Janean Owens ("Plaintiff), an
inmate in the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility
("EMCF"), brought this action against Defendants
State of New Jersey Department of Corrections
("NJDOC"), EMCF, Warden William Anderson, Warden
William Hauck, Officer Brian Ambroise, Officer Joselito
Perez, Mays, and NJDOC Commissioner Gary J. Lanigan alleging
that she was sexually assaulted, harassed, retaliated
against, and subjected to a pattern and practice of such
conduct by EMCF corrections officers. (Pl. Opp. Br. at 1, ECF No.
60; see also Amended Compl., ECF No. 9). As a
result, Plaintiff alleges violations of the First, Fifth,
Eighth, and Fourteen Amendments of the U.S. Constitution as
brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; violations of the New
Jersey Civil Rights Act ("NJCRA"), N.J.S.A. §
10:6-2; and violations of the New Jersey Law Against
Discrimination ("LAD"), N.J.S.A. §10:5-1
Mays specifically, Plaintiff alleges that while he was a
corrections officer at EMCF, Mays made repeated sexual
"passes" at her, which ultimately led to
Plaintiff's acquiescence in sexual acts with Mays out of
fear of retaliation. (Pl. Opp. Br. at 2). After Plaintiff
reported Mays' misconduct to prison officials, she was
allegedly retaliated against by, inter alia, being
"unjustifiably written up in 2014 and forced to remain
in the North Hall television room for 12 hours-----[where]
Plaintiff was not given access to a restroom ... and was
forced to urinate on the floor. (Id. at 3).
present motion, Mays seeks a stay of the present action until
his criminal appeal is resolved, arguing, inter
alia, that having this matter proceed will purportedly
make discovery "extremely complicated" and
"Mays [also] does not want to make any
self-incriminating statements that may materially affect the
outcome of the criminal action, which, in turn, could affect
[his] potential freedom and liberty." (Moving Br. at 2).
stay is not constitutionally required when a civil action
overlaps with a pending criminal proceeding, but 'may be
warranted in certain circumstances.'" In re
Valeant Pharm. Int'l, Inc., Sec. Litig., No.
15-7658, No. 15-7658, 2019 WL 1578677, at *4 (D.N.J.
Apr. 12, 2019) (quoting Walsh Sec, Inc. v. Cristo Prop.
Mgmt., Ltd., 7 F.Supp.2d 523, 526 (D.N.J. 1998)).
Indeed, "[t]he stay of a civil proceeding is an
extraordinary remedy and is not favored." Forrest v.
Conine, 757 F.Supp.2d 473, 476 (D.N.J. 2010) (citing
Landis v. N. Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936)).
"However, a court has the discretion to stay a case if
the interests of justice so require." Id.
generally consider six factors in deciding whether to grant a
stay of a civil action while a criminal action is pending,
1) the extent to which the issues in the criminal and civil
cases overlap; 2) the status of the case, including whether
the defendants have been indicted; 3) the plaintiffs interest
in proceeding expeditiously weighed against the prejudice to
plaintiff caused by a delay; 4) the private interests of and
burden on defendants; 5) the interests of the court; and 6)
the public interest.
Walsh, 7 F.Supp. at 527. Here, the Court finds that
these factors weigh against granting a stay. In particular,
the Court finds the status of Mays' criminal case to
weigh against a stay. As stated above, Mays has already been
convicted and the appellate record for consideration is
closed. And while his verdict and sentence are presently on
appeal, "courts generally do not grant a stay in an
overlapping civil case while the related criminal case is on
appeal because 'there is only a mere possibility that a
successful appeal might lead to a new trial that could
require invocation of a defendant's Fifth Amendment
rights." Valeant, 2019 WL 1578677, at *4
(citation omitted). Moreover, because the "appeal
process is an uncertain, potentially long-ranging, process .
. . only unusual circumstances would justify an order staying
a post-conviction civil proceeding." Id.
(citation omitted). Here, Plaintiff, the Court, and the
public all share the same interest in expeditiously resolving
this case. For these reasons, among others, the Court finds
that a stay is not warranted.
Court recognizes Mays' constitutional rights as a
criminal defendant. As such, the discovery process should
consider same. The magistrate ...